Documenting U.K. underground punk and post-punk from 1977-1981, esteemed label Soul Jazz Records looks beyond the Sex Pistols and the Clash and manages to curate a compilation of hidden and seminal tracks that shine a light on a fertile and intelligent D.I.Y. scene away from the scurrilous tabloid headlines of that era. Featuring a deluxe 400-page Punk 45 cover art book compiled and edited by noted music author Jon Savage and Soul Jazz founder Stuart Baker, this vibrant collection is a more than satisfactory follow-up its predecessor, Punk 45: Underground Punk in the United States of America, Vol. 1. Soul Jazz has done a very good job in representing such a varied and fearless underground punk scene, with the likes of the Mekons casually rubbing shoulders with Scottish indie legends Josef K on the carefully constructed track list. What makes this compilation so engaging is that the songs evoke images of a '70s Britain behest by strikes, rolling blackouts, Margaret Thatcher, and general disillusionment with the establishment alongside the genuine musical ingenuity and drive of the artists featured. By successfully capturing this spirit of discontent and the subsequent creativity that nurtured it, this collection is a brilliant snapshot of the rise of U.K. punk and post-punk and the explosive cultural shift that followed.
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AllMusic Review by Aneet Nijjar